UW-Madison Logo

The ADvanced Systems Laboratory (ADSL)
Publication abstract

IRON File Systems

Vijayan Prabhakaran, Lakshmi N. Bairavasundaram, Nitin Agrawal, Haryadi S. Gunawi, Andrea C. Arpaci-Dusseau, Remzi H. Arpaci-Dusseau
Department of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Commodity file systems trust disks to either work or fail completely, yet modern disks exhibit more complex failure modes. We suggest a new fail-partial failure model for disks, which incorporates realistic localized faults such as latent sector errors and block corruption. We then develop and apply a novel failure-policy fingerprinting framework, to investigate how commodity file systems react to a range of more realistic disk failures. We classify their failure policies in a new taxonomy that measures their Internal RObustNess (IRON), which includes both failure detection and recovery techniques. We show that commodity file system failure policies are often inconsistent, sometimes buggy, and generally inadequate in their ability to recover from partial disk failures. Finally, we design, implement, and evaluate a prototype IRON file system, Linux ixt3, showing that techniques such as in-disk checksumming, replication, and parity greatly enhance file system robustness while incurring minimal time and space overheads.

Full Paper: Postscript   PDF   BibTeX